Readings for September 29, 2019
Amos 6:1, 4-7
1 Timothy 6:11-16
Lately, work has been stressful. And sometimes, I find myself counting the days until I can retire (approximately 2,265). I’m suffering now because I am hopeful that I will get to experience happiness later–in retirement! Sometimes, I think I view my faith in a similar way to how I view saving for retirement. I don’t expect to see any rewards now, in fact I expect it to take resources from me now. But in the end I am hopeful that when I retire from this world, I will have invested enough of my resources towards my faith that I will be able to join God, Jesus and the angels in heaven, and then I will get to experience true happiness.
But the truth, of course, is that happiness is not so far away, and I am able to experience it here on Earth as well. And I’m not talking about diversifying my portfolio and investing in worldly pleasures as well as heavenly ones–much as I would love to buy a shiny new sports car and a fifth fancy coffee maker.
No, the truth is, I can experience happiness here on earth every time I give to someone else. For “Blessed is he who keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry” reads Sunday’s Psalm. And here, and in all Biblical language, blessed equates to “happy.”
Therefore, this is my blueprint for happiness: Love my neighbors. Love even those around the corner with the exhaust-plume that follows their loud, how-can-that-thing-still-be-running car, the crumbling sidewalk, and the unkempt yard. In fact, don’t love “even those” but especially those. As St. Paul instructs Timothy, I must “compete well for the faith” in this life and live that life of faith by securing “justice for the oppressed” and giving “food to the hungry.” I must look beyond my own comforts and tend to the needed comforts of others with a simple, yet wholly radical love.
That’s what we are competing for. That’s what will bring us true happiness. Live it now so we can possess it forever.
Or prepare for the heat.
Lord Jesus, grant me happiness in this life by helping me share the treasures I have with those who have less. Help me help those who struggle to help themselves. Let me live and love beyond myself so that I can live out my faith in the hope of your promises. I ask this in your name. Amen